Warning: This post is going to be bursting with newbie excitement.
So where do I start? I have trained for 12 weeks, endured soreness and pain, juggled study, child and housework to get to this point. I am proud to report that all that has paid off handsomely. Not only did I finish in a dignified manner (I didn’t crawl across the finish line!) but I also did so much better time wise than what I had expected.
The Australian Running Festival (also known as the Canberra Marathon) half was my first half marathon and, on top of that, the first time I ran 21k plus. The longest I’ve run was 18k. Having reflected on my training (more details later), I realized that I have skipped too many hard sessions, including long runs. I also have not taken the time to practice proper refuelling during a race. But when I stood at that start line, I decided not to focus on what I have not done, instead chose to focus on what I have put towards this moment. And I told myself to relax and have a great time. What’s the point of it anyway if you can’t enjoy it, right?
I was amazed to find a sea of runners. Having only started running September last year, this was my first official race. And I know that the Canberra Marathon is so much smaller compared to, let’s say, the Gold Coast or Sydney events. Still, I was struck, I didn’t expect such a turn out. I found a space near the back–conscious of my slow pace, I didn’t want to hold up the faster runners–and decided to stand next to a group of FIT ladies running their first half (And wishing I had been part of the training group!). Everyone was bursting with nervous energy, I could literally hear the pre-start adrenaline pumping!
The course was scenic. We passed beautiful landmarks on the first leg of the race. For someone who is not from Canberra (only been living here for a couple years), running passed those grand structure gave me quite a boost. Who would have thought that focusing my sight on the Parliament House would help me run up the Capital Hill. The second leg of the race, we sort of ran along the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin. There is something about running in beautiful weather-It was meditative. I didn’t think I would feel so relaxed on a race! It was a gorgeous day and the sun transformed the surface of the lake into an ethereal looking mirror. This may sound very new age, but, as I soaked in the sun and amazing view, there was a moment when I was filled with happiness and gratitude (could this be endorphine-induced? the runner’s high people talk about?).
When I crossed the finish line the clock showed that I had run in 2:20 ish. My Garmin says 2:17 but I had mistakenly started the time before I crossed the start line (I was huddled at the back of the pack and moved slowly towards the start after gun off). The time results aren’t going to be up the website for a few days, and I have somehow forgotten to request an sms notification. To be honest, I don’t really care. My first one is going to be my PB anyway. I am also not fussed about everyone else recording a better time than I did on their first. As tortoises (slow runners) go, 2:20 is an awesome time! And what really counts is that I felt amazing throughout the run.
A friend just texted me saying that I had done 2:18 according to the results published in the Canberra Times today. Woohoo!
Finally, I am just happy to be able to check off one half marathon off the list of three half marathons planned for this year. Finishing the race gave me a great sense of self-accomplishment, because not only did I manage to run a distance I’ve never run before, but for the first time in my life I finally fulfill a new year’s resolution. Usually it is written up and forgotten, but not this time! And I am proud of myself for that. Now I have a week of recovery and then it’s on to training for my next half: RunMelbourne in July!
Congratulations to all winners and finishers of all the runs – 5k, 10k dash, 10k fun run, half marathon, marathon and ultra marathon. You are all champions!